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2011 Positive reviews

The Archer

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Since there seems to be increasing momentum around this tour and a lot of positive press online, I think that it's worth it to capture them together in one thread.

I'm starting off with this one below which actually groups 7 (mostly) positive reviews of the band so far, but there are a lot more out there. If Axl and this line up can turn around the press, then it's a strong indication that the general public is going to come around too.


Critical Mass: Seven takes on Guns N' Roses' North American tour


Story by Rob Evans

SoundSpike Editor

Published November 18, 2011 11:20 AM

Guns N' Roses are a few weeks into their first North American tour in five years, and there are lots of common threads to what reviewers are writing about the shows to date.

So far, the tour has pretty much gone on without a hitch -- other than the late start time, which is a longstanding GN'R tradition. Critics note that GN'R's sets have generally started at about 11 p.m. each night, but enigmatic frontman Axl Rose and the band may be displaying more stamina than its fans by playing more than two-and-a-half hours.

The setlist is running at about 30 songs, but some critics aren't happy that many of those songs come from the "Chinese Democracy" album. The band also plays several cover songs, including The Who's "My Generation," for which bassist Tommy Stinson (formerly of The Replacements) handles vocals.

Critics are saying that Rose's voice sounds surprisingly good, and some note that the extended breaks for soloing -- and Rose's frequent dashes offstage for costume changes (or whatever) hurt the shows' pacing.

Here are some excerpts from reviews of seven stops on the tour.

1. Chris Vetter, Eau Claire Leader-Telegram [show: Nov. 13 in Minneapolis]

"I've met a surprisingly high number of people over the years who say they would refuse to see Guns N' Roses today because it is 'Axl and a bunch of replacements.' Many fans have told me they wouldn't see GN'R if famed guitarist Slash isn't in the lineup. That all seems silly to me. Axl has found great musicians to play the band's big hits, and with Axl sounding great, there is no reason to miss out on this show."

2. Bob Gendron, Chicago Tribune [show: Nov. 15 in Rosemont, IL]

"For what seems like the first time since everyone but enigmatic leader Axl Rose left the original lineup nearly two decades ago, Guns N' Roses amounted to more than just a declining, primarily anonymous covers band content to feast on nostalgia."

3. Darryl Smyers, Dallas Observer [show: Nov. 5 in Dallas]

"Playing a collection of hits, deep cuts and surprising cover choices, Guns N' Roses were accomplished throughout the evening. The only drawback was an over-reliance on solos. Hell, I was half expecting the roadies to get their moment in the spotlight. But despite the '70s-era showboating and the horribly low volume on Rose's microphone, the band sounded as good, if not better, than the original crew of Slash, Izzy, Duff, etc."

4. Kevin Coffey, Omaha World Herald [show: Nov. 8 in Omaha, NE]

As good as the show was, it could have been better. Cut the fluff: Several songs, most of the wardrobe changes, some of the band members (there's eight when they only really need six) and about an hour of the set could easily go and make it one of the tightest, most rocking shows ever.

5. Jim Abbott, Orlando Sentinel [show: Oct. 28 in Orlando]

"Rose and the current no-name lineup of Guns N' Roses -- sort of the strike-season-replacement-team of rock bands -- unleashed a bloated, but surprisingly strong 3 hours on the opening night of its first U.S. tour in more than five years. Yeah, there was a lot of it -- just like the lead singer's expanded mid-section."

6. George Lang, The Oklahoman [show: Nov. 9 in Norman, OK]

"Rose, who frequently left the stage to change hats or leather jackets, kept a quick pace, running up and down the stage ramps during the encore -- [guitarist Dj] Ashba couldn't quite keep up, tumbling down a ramp near the end of the show. But Rose's pace was better than the concert's as a whole: as much as he might resist it, trimming some 'Chinese Democracy' tracks in favor of the better and better-known early material would keep more people in the seats, even late into the night. But Rose proved that he could still cut it, and that the online evidence of his decline was either greatly exaggerated or simply no longer true."

7. Timothy Finn, Kansas City Star [show: Nov. 13 in Kansas City, MO]

Take away the covers and instrumentals and the setlist comprised 18 songs, seven from the 'Appetite for Destruction' album, which has sales of more than 18 million in the U.S. alone. Those were the songs that ignited the biggest and loudest responses, from 'Jungle' and 'Sweet Child O' Mine' to 'Rocket Queen' and 'Paradise City.' It would have been a better show if it had shed some fat and lost some bloat. Or if it had started earlier. About the 1:15 a.m. mark, I noticed people heading up the aisles and for the exits. And lots of yawning.

Edited by The Archer
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“Lo and behold, Rose delivered the goods. His fire-alarm voice was still piercing and powerful, and he worked the stage like a young Axl.” – Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Playing a collection of hits, deep cuts and surprising cover choices, Guns N’ Roses were accomplished throughout the evening.” – Dallas Observer

“The thousands in attendance were mesmerized by the band and cheered until their lungs were sore.” – Omaha World Herald

“Launching into the title track from 2008’s ‘Chinese Democracy’ and immediately hitting the crowd with ‘Welcome to the Jungle,’ (Rose) had no trouble hitting the high notes, and just as importantly, sustaining them. And he kept doing it for three solid hours.” – Daily Oklahoman

“I defy you not to get goosebumps upon hearing the opening riff of ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ in an arena setting.” – Lafayette Journal & Courier

“Rose and his new bandmates were in excellent form.” – Atlanta Journal Constitution

“Rose’s best moment was when he tickled the ivories to Elton John’s ‘Good Bye Yellow Brick Road’ which segued into his magnum opus ‘November Rain.’” – Pegasus News Dallas

“I’ll be the first to admit I was absolutely stunned at just how good this edition of Guns truly is. Axl’s voice was spot on throughout the non-stop two and a half hour show. The cast of characters surrounding him were superior in every way to the original collection of musical misfits.” – JAM magazine


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